Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What's causing the swollen feeling in my throat?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat's causing the swollen feeling in my throat?


The last couple of days, I have had the feeling of a lump in my throat. It varies in severity through out the day, and I can't seem to find a pattern. It makes me feel as though I have trouble breathing, but I think that might just be in my mind, since I am so focused on my breathing. It seems to get better as the night goes on, but i wake up with it again in the morning. It also seems to be relieved somewhat after eating. Anybody have an idea what it could be? I should also add that prior to this, I had a pain in my right chest when i took a deep breath. I went to a doctor, and had a chest xray. He said he could find nothing serious that would cause the chest pain. That has now subsided, except for a very brief episode of it last night. I believe that issue is just gas, as it feels like pressure, and it is relieved with a lot of burping. The chest pain seems to come after eating, but the throat tightness/lump seems to be with me throughout the day.


I do suggest that you go to see your primary care doctor to talk about this issue. There a number of different causes of the sensation of a lump stuck in your throat, and your doctor can perform a complete examination and help you figure out what might be going on. For example, chronic sinus drainage or nasal allergies will often cause dripping of mucus down the back of the throat. This leads to chronic irritation, mostly for provoking coughing, and the irritation can feel like a "lump" in the back of the throat. Similarly, inflammation of the tonsils can cause this sensation. The tonsils may be inflamed due to an acute throat infection, or, in some cases, may be more chronically inflamed. Another common cause is heartburn, or acid reflux. The mechanism here is similar, as acid from the stomach washes up into the throat, causing chronic irritation, sometimes coughing, and a sensation of something in the back of the throat. Start by seeing your doctor as soon as you can. All three of these potential causes are generally easy to pick up on examination and, fortunately, they also are all treatable with common and effective medications. Good luck!

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.